When hanging the flag, please stop and think about public education, freedom, and what schools could be like. So much has been done to privatize schools that they may be a shell of their potential.
Corporate reformers have changed how America’s students are educated, and politicians from both parties have, for years, evaded, ignored, or facilitated how these severe losses will hurt not only students but the country and its future.
President Ronald Reagan began the anti-public education crisis with A Nation at Risk. Students in poor neighborhoods without tax support for good schools and the societal issue of race relations affected schools, but there was no crisis for most students. President Reagan benefitted from attending a public school in Illinois.
Policies were made to drive changes causing people to hate public schools and believe charter schools and vouchers would be better.
Parents and the community were led to believe their schools failed, to hand over ownership to outside organizations and relinquish public school ownership.
Policies and rhetoric by both political parties have caused the changes that make schools appear to be failing.
From No Child Left Behind to the Every Student Succeeds Act, including Common Core State Standards, American control of public schools has shifted to wealthy individuals and corporations who dictate how schools should run, setting up anti-public school nonprofits that promote a business agenda.
Throughout the years, the same people today who call public schools a crisis helped create the problems Americans face in their public schools.
The corporate media has helped push the crisis card. Still, repeated Gallup Polls show that parents like their public schools. They dislike other schools due to what they hear.
Higher than High Expectations
Continually creating hurdles for students where they will inevitably fail has been the Modis operandi for years.
Consider NCLB’s changes to kindergarten, once called the children’s garden, beginning over twenty years ago. Kindergartners never used to be expected to read by first grade, and the class itself was a half-day introduction to school that included unstructured play lending itself to creativity and imagination.
But schooling has pushed students harder. Many parents are convinced that higher expectations are imperative. Students must read by third grade, or they’ve failed and should be retained. This is not supported by research.
Another way to create student pressure is through Advanced Placement from the College Board. College-like classes in high school used to be limited. Now, AP classes are used in many high schools for ranking students.
The College Board makes a huge profit on public education, increasing high school expectations beyond past expectations and removing decision-making from the teacher.
Read Annie Abrams’s book, Shortchanged: How Advanced Placement Cheats Students, about how the College Board’s Advanced Placement program has been destructive to America’s high schools.
While students are expected to reach more difficult objectives, subjects focusing on creativity, including the liberal arts, are removed from the curriculum.
Well-prepared teachers are critical so students will be knowledgeable with good futures. For years, corporate reformers have pushed the notion that anyone can teach, that teachers need no special career instruction. Or that computers can teach better than humans. There’s no proof of this.
Beginning in 1998 Teach for America corps members were hired in poor schools especially charters with five weeks of training. Now a variety of similar programs place fast-track trained teachers into classrooms.
Corporations flooded this organization with donations (from 2014) while they cast doubt on professional teacher performance. By cheapening the teacher workforce, this ensures students will get less prepared teachers.
TFA corps members have been lifted to prominent positions in universities, state education departments, or as media critics but have yet to study teaching.
Also frustrated with the pandemic, Americans were led to turn against teachers who worked to keep students and families safe.
All this drives parents to reject public education and turn to vouchers for private and charter schools, often with little accountability.
Americans need and deserve great public schools open to all children. On this day, commit to investing in America’s public schools! Get involved in local public education and help teachers help the students who will lift America to new and better heights!
Other 4th of July posts: